Finding your balance as a Songwriter and College Student : Sansha Blue on Give It Time
As summer comes to a close, Chris Paraggio aka Sansha Blue starts to think about the balance he needs to strike between continuing to create music and his now uber demanding journey into college life.
So many musicians have lost their footing in that first year of endless parties, distractions, and new friends. It’s easy to get lost in the demands of a new routine that shifts from a small pond to what may seem like an ocean of new choices.
Will Sansha Blue be able to keep his feet on the ground on this new journey? Listen to the podcast to find out how this young songwriting is planning on keeping his footing.
Person Interviewing: Chris Paraggio / Sansha Blue
Song name: Give It Time
Music Genre: Alternative, Indie, Alternative Rock
I live in… Carmel, N.Y.
The song “Give It Time” is just about hoping that things might change if they’re given enough time to do so.
It’s easy to see time as a buffer to hold off potential disaster long enough for problems to be solved. While I reference some specifics regarding religion, or family, or my self-control, I think the general message is something that a lot of people have been feeling lately.
It might be kind of cliché to say that music is some sort of creative vent or outlet, but maybe that’s just because it’s the truth. Lately, this music is only me saying what’s on my mind, without thinking about it too much. It’s been very freeing sacrificing constant poetry for what I perceive as a greater level of authenticity.
I think this song is pretty representative of that direct and honest approach I’ve been trying to take with my songwriting. It sounds a bit lighter than a lot of the past stuff, too. Like a lot of the new music, this song was heavily inspired by a lot of my favorite 80’s music, particularly those of post-punk and new wave artists/albums. While it shows that I’m open to a lighter and more upbeat sound moving forward, I wouldn’t say that this makes it representative of the new music as a whole.
I worked with my longtime friend and more recent creative partner John Baggetta on this entire project. After collaborating with Edward Smith on “Without Me”, the more recent E.P., I didn’t want to undertake an entire album on my own. So, he engineered and co-produced everything with me (not to mention doing some writing with me, too). I’m genuinely excited to see what we make next.
The thing that keeps me going with making music is quite simply the possibility of success. I honestly don’t even know how I would define success at this point, at least as a whole. But seeing more and more people listen to my music just really makes me excited to write and record more of it.
Making music is insanely fun for me.
Finding sounds and ways to stick notes together that I haven’t explored before is just a super exciting process, and it’s so much of what I do.
Being that I still perform all of the instruments and vocals alone for these songs, my favorite instrument changes day today.
There’s so much static to cut through as an independent artist; as it is for any entrepreneur, being seen and heard in the first place is the most difficult part of the job right now.
Tips for balancing college and music life..
How can you cope? Start with these simple tips to find life balance in college life…
1. Be realistic about your intentions
Planning your day in the short term is important because so many things pop up when you’re in an unstructured atmosphere. You don’t have your parents keeping you on schedule. Now, this is all on you so you’ve got to take that role of organizing your workflow and being your own boss.
There are only so many hours in the day, so plan for what is possible and make a shortlist of extra things you might be able to tackle should you find your day moving easily. Finding balance begins with setting realistic goals for yourself, not only for your academics but for other aspects of campus life like friends, exercise, and music. This can be difficult with friends trying to constantly pull you away from your focus, remember not to allow others to influence your goals. Set priorities and continue focusing on your direction with a clear view of why you are doing it.
2. Develop effective study habits and time management
There is a saying that all work and no play makes you crazy. That is certainly true of studying and putting too much time in each study block. Be sure to make time for music breaks and friends so you won’t feel stressed. You’ll spend countless hours studying, preparing for exams, and more, but you want to avoid burnout and cramming. Use your phone as your accountability guide so you take the breaks you need but don’t lose track of your day. Just be realistic with the time you give yourself to accomplish each task. Once you start doing things, you’ll get a much better idea of how long it takes you and what time frame feels most comfortable so leave the room and go with the flow.
3. Eat and try to make it healthy!
Sugar highs and lows can influence your ability to cope with stress. Eating a balanced diet is ideal. Of course, it’s not always possible and you’ll start craving those fatty meatball sandwiches at the corner shop but try to avoid empty calories from junk food and eat fruits and veggies to get you through energy slumps. Nuts are a great source of protein and carbs. Meal preps are crucial to mastering this so gran a bunch of mini plastic containers and fill that fridge with easy snacks that you can take with you. Every grocery store makes several healthy pre-cooked foods that can make your life easier: hard-boiled eggs, pre-boxed salads, Rotisserie, mini oatmeal bowls, and cheese/fruit snacks already in small packages to help you manage those cravings.
4. Exercise regularly
Movement keeps the body tuned up. Do some sort of physical activity or stretches throughout the day. Exercising increases blood flow and sends oxygen to the brain resulting in better memory and concentration. You can break it up with walks and just hitting the floor for crunches and push-ups. It’s free and easy. Look to see if the campus has a gym or student activity areas and don’t forget to run with a friend if you are hitting those hidden park trails.
5. Let it go
Always exercise the ability to let it go to thrive and move forward. If you are stuck on something, don’t waste time on it. Let is go and change up your routine. Relax, and let it go is a mantra that you need to learn and use. Things will get tough and you will find time an issue as you sort out your new workflow but stressing about things doesn’t make it better. Just get up and walk away. Go do something else and when you get back to the problem, you’ll see it from a different perspective. Everything can be figured out, just let yourself process it calmly and things will turn out better than expected.
6. Ask for help
One of the great things about college is that you have access to all sorts of help; you can turn to professors, advisors, counseling centers, and more for help when you need it. The important thing is to be able to recognize when you need it and not be afraid to ask for it. You are not the first student at the university, and you will not be the last. Many before you have experienced the same challenges and have walked in your shoes. Resources are available; know how to access them and to use them wisely.
7. Know when it is time to make a choice
At some point in time, you will feel overwhelmed, and that is okay. Recognizing the situation and being willing to make a change is a good thing. So, look at where and how you spend your time. Are you involved in too many extracurricular activities or organizations? Would this be a good time to drop a leadership role, cut back on social activities, and even drop a class, if needed? To do so is not a sign of failure, but rather the first step toward achieving the balancing act that you need to get you through the experience. Music takes time to develop so make sure you plan your schedule with plenty of creative time when people aren’t around.
Colleges typically have music rooms you can schedule time in if you live with a roommate so if finding alone time is tough, just go to a space that you feel good in and make the necessary equipment adjustments to make that happen. Once you find what works, you’ll be back in the zone in no time.
College is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, but it can also be intimidating. College is where you find independence, change, growth experiences and transition. You develop decision-making skills and have the freedom to make choices. Make the most of your college experience by striving for and achieving balance. It’s a time where you can figure out whom you want to be and how you want to contribute to the world.
Focus on adding value to the world around you and these next years will be something that sets you up for the rest of your life. How you spend your time defines your character and feeds your spirit, it’s essential for a songwriter because you must constantly be generating inspiration.
Now that’s something to write a song about.
Story created by Jacqueline Jax and Chris Paraggio / Sansha Blue